Media Buyers More Likely To Purchase Free Community Papers Than 5 Years Ago


PaperChain, the association-driven marketing effort for the Free Com­munity Paper Industry, has recently released the results of a survey aimed at measuring its appeal to major media buyers.

The survey was compiled by Circu­lation Verification Council working in unison with Kantar Media, pub­lishers of the Standard Rate and Data Service.

“The results of the Media Engage­ment Survey reaffirm efforts by the Free Community  Paper Industry to position its members as a trusted media, valued greatly by national media buyers,” said PaperChain Chairperson Dan Alexander, pub­lisher of Sun Community  News in Elizabethtown, New York.

91% of national media buyers say they have experienced placing ads in industry publications. A similar survey in 2008 showed only 65% of those buyers had experience with free paper placement, while the 2014 survey posted a 90% number; which means despite major up­ heavily in all media industries over the last ten years, the free paper in­dustry has held strong.

In the “Very Likely to Consider Placement” category, the free paper industry grew from 26% in 2014 to 52% in 2019 while most other me­ dia types fell off or were even with prior survey results.

When asked about trustworthiness, once again the free paper industry ranked the highest with 67% in the “Very Trustworthy”  and “Trustwor­thy” categories, followed closely by paid daily papers at 60%.  69% strongly agree and agree that free papers provide an excellent value for advertisers, and 93% be­lieve free papers fill a unique niche in the media mix.

Buyers also loudly voiced opposi­tion to the statement that consumer “involvement” is lower in a free pa­per versus a paid daily. Only 3% strongly disagreed in 2014.  81% of the buyers believe they have adequate knowledge of the industry, up from 68% in 2014.

In 2014, 29% of the buyers felt free papers were somewhat more effec­tive than a traditional daily TMC, while 18% told us then that free pa­pers were much more effective than a TMC. In 2019 we reversed those concerns when 13%  were  some­ what more effective, and  33% felt free papers were much more effective.

Despite the encouraging results, we still have more work to accomplish.

The industry still creates negative perceptions among the media buy­ ers in readership,  distribution,  lack of audits, and consumer value.

The survey small print paints a strong picture for staying the course with audited circulation and mar­keting efforts through reputable or­ganizations like Standard Rate and Data Service. These are essential methods to reach buyers with the services we provide.

And so, while we’ve made tremen­dous headway validating the relia­bility of our publications, our effort must never stop.

Competition is changing all the time, and we must stand ready to accept  the changing challenges ahead.

Industry leaders through the years and stalwart advisers like Tim Bingaman from CVC and David Crawford and Michael Forgash from Kantar Media have helped guide the industry to new heights, but our future requires innovative and aggres­sive leaders continuing to invest in our media companies and the com­munities we serve.

The PaperChain Board of Managers representing our state, regional and national trade associations encour­age your active participation in your Free Paper Industry.


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